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German State Doesn’t ‘Like’ Facebook

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One of the stereotypes of Germans, fair or unfair, is that they are maybe a little too serious. Recent legal news from the country regarding Facebook won’t do much to quell that thinking.

Thilo Weichert, the data-protection commissioner of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, ordered state institutions to shut down their Facebook Pages and remove the Like button from their websites, otherwise they could face fines.

This isn’t just a matter of “liking” or “disliking” something. German officials are asserting that the Like plugin is profiling users without their knowledge.

“Whoever visits Facebook.com or uses a plugin must expect that he or she will be tracked by the company for two years,” Weichert said. “Facebook builds a broad individual and for members even a personalized profile.” This isn’t the first time Germany has made international news in regards to Internet privacy concerns. Last year after complaints, Google allowed Germans to have their homes blurred if they were not comfortable with the company’s Street View mapping system.

Facebook is denying any wrongdoing:

“We firmly reject any assertion that Facebook is not compliant with EU data protection standards,” said a Facebook spokesperson. “The Facebook Like button is such a popular feature because people have complete control over how their information is shared through it. For more than a year, the plugin has brought value to many businesses and individuals every day. We will review the materials produced by the ULD , both on our own behalf and on the behalf of Web users throughout Germany.”

What about you… do you have any concerns/fears that Facebook or other websites are collecting information that you are uncomfortable with?

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